West Ham went down to a 3-1 defeat at Norwich in the Premier League yesterday. The loss left the Irons in 15th place in the English top-flight, just one point outside the relegation zone.
The result was a disappointing one for West Ham, after they dominated the first half.
In the first half at Carrow Road the visitors dominated possession and were in complete control.
That control was due to the fact that the visitors were using a forward less formation. The six midfielders that the Irons used combined to good effect and they looked dangerous in the first period.
The opening goal arrived when Kevin Nolan found Ravel Morrison and the young midfielder scored his third Premier League goal of the season. However, once the home side equalised and took the lead the Hammers formation was not so effective though.
Unfortunately the Irons have been forced into playing without a striker due to a complete lack of any effective strikers in the squad. Carlton Cole came on as a second half substitute in yesterday’s game and looked off the pace.
The Irons had persisted with Modibo Maiga for the first six games of the season and he did not look good enough, never mind prolific. Portuguese striker Ricardo Vaz Te is currently out injured, while relatively new signing Mladen Petric is also on the Hammers injury list.
The player that that should provide the solution to the Hammers striking problems is club record signing Andy Carroll. The £15million signing made a big impact for the Hammers while on-loan last season from Liverpool.
The England international made 24 appearances for the Hammers and scored seven goals in the process. Unfortunately for the club from the East End Carroll missed a number of games through injury during the last campaign.
It was a sign of things to come for Carroll. The former-Newcastle striker picked-up an injury that has prevented him from taking any part in the Hammers campaign so far.
The big striker was hoping to return to action in the Hammers London derby against Chelsea on 23rd November. However, the striker has suffered a setback in his attempts to make a comeback after picking up a viral infection. It is believed that he may not play before Christmas, which is a major blow to Sam Allardyce’s team.
Carroll is a big miss for West Ham. On his day the Geordie is one of the most dangerous strikers in the Premier League. He keeps defenders busy for 90 minutes, harries and offers a major aerial threat to opposition defences.
The Hammers will be a far different proposition when Carroll does finally return to the starting line-up. The England international is a player that is a formidable focal point of any attack. His physical presence and robust approach is what West Ham is crying out for at the moment.
West Ham do have a very decent midfield, who will supply Carroll with a lot of chances when he does return. Stewart Downing and Matt Jarvis are classic old school wingers, who will get to the by-line and fire in crosses for the big man.
At the moment their talents are wasted because West Ham have no real focal point in attack. Kevin Nolan has played as the most advanced midfielder in recent games, but his talents are best employed some from a deep position.
One saving grace for the Irons is that their defence has been pretty solid this season. The Hammers have conceded 11 goals this season, just two more than league leaders Arsenal and the same as title favourites Manchester City.
The absence of centre-back Winston Reid in yesterday’s game obviously had an effect on the Hammers defence, but a rare mistake from veteran keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen gifted the Canaries a way back into the game and they grabbed it with both hands.
West Ham are currently hovering over the relegation zone. However, I have no doubts that the Irons will be secure this season. The combination of a relatively solid defence and the eventual return of Andy Carroll should see them to safety this season.
The Irons should have enough qualify within their ranks to stay in the top-flight this season. No team is too good to go down, but I think there are three teams worse than West Ham in the top-flight this season.
Will West Ham score enough goals this season to survive the drop?